At Kate Spade & Company, we are deeply committed to doing business the right way. And that means supporting the rights of workers who make our products around the world. We have always insisted that suppliers maintain a fair and humane workplace, but experience has taught us that isn't always enough. Supporting workers' rights is a truly challenging and complex problem, and further progress will only be made by those with a serious commitment to improving conditions.
We maintain leading industry standards for monitoring, auditing and transparency to help ensure safe, decent and fair working conditions.
Kate Spade & Company’s human rights policies are rooted in those of the Fair Labor Association, which the Company had a lead role in establishing and are dedicated to protecting workers’ rights around the world. The Fair Labor Association’s human rights standards are based on and incorporate International Labor Organization standards. Kate Spade & Company’s human rights standards also align with the tenets of the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights. In addition, the Company is a member of ILO’s Better Work Program, which aims to improve working conditions in the garment industry and make the sector more competitive. Currently, our vendors in Vietnam and Indonesia are partners in the program and participate in the training and education projects. The Company is also a member of the Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety, which provides safety inspections, monitoring and training to vendors.
The core components of our Kate Spade & Company Social Compliance program are: auditing; monitoring and remediation against our Standards of Engagement; internal and external training on our Standards including establishing direct channels of communication with workers; stakeholder involvement; and transparency.
Our Company strives to work with and build long-term relationships with suppliers that will collaborate with our Social Compliance team to foster and promote a sustainable compliance working environment. Our goal is to aid factories in creating a safe and informed workplace by educating our suppliers on worker’s rights, acceptable workplace standards, and to help them develop the skills needed to engage with workers in respectful collaboration.
Kate Spade & Company also focuses on the workers. It is important that workers feel empowered to have open dialogue with management and report concerns or violations. Just as important, our company provides workers with a confidential hotline for all countries in our sourcing network, so there is a direct line between Kate Spade & Company and the workers.
As part of the on-boarding of a new supplier, a component of their evaluation is to assess the supplier’s ability to comply with Kate Spade & Company’s Standards of Engagement. Evaluations are conducted by performing on-site factory audits arranged by our Social Compliance team in conjunction with our agent and independent audit firms:
- New suppliers are screened prior to placement of orders
- Core suppliers are re-audited at least every 12 months
- Remediation plans are monitored regularly
If an audit identifies issues for remediation, the factory will be evaluated on the severity of the issues. If our Compliance team determines that the supplier is committed to rectifying the issues, they will request that a corrective action plan (CAP) be developed. The supplier must then comply with the CAP and rectify the identified issues within a reasonable amount of time. If there should be a failure to successfully complete the CAP, the supplier will be deactivated and no future Kate Spade & Company orders will be placed with the supplier.
Kate Spade & Company products manufactured through our Licensing division will have factories screened and approved by the Licensor. Each of our license agreements incorporates the Kate Spade & Company Standards of Engagement and states the expectation that our Company policies with regard to human rights and worker safety be met. Additionally, our licensing partners are required to provide our Compliance team with copies of recent factory audit reports upon request for review and assessment.
In all cases, critical failures or reports of serious violations are immediately reported to Kate Spade & Company’s corporate executive leadership. Investigations are conducted and results reviewed to determine actions to be taken in response. Breaches of our policies can result in an immediate exit of business.